The gendered dimensions of informal institutions in the Australian construction industry

Galea, Natalie, Powell, Abigail, Loosemore, Martin and Chappell, Louise (2020) The gendered dimensions of informal institutions in the Australian construction industry. Gender, Work and Organisation . ISSN 1468-0432

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12458

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Abstract

The construction industry is the most male-dominated in Australia, despite companies implementing formal policies and initiatives to address this. While previous research has examined the role of workplace culture as a barrier to
women in the industry, our research investigates the role informal institutions play in obstructing gender equity in construction. We examine the gendered dimension of informal institutions (practices, narratives and norms) in two
multinational Australian construction companies using feminist institutional (FI) theory and rapid ethnography. The findings show that informal gendered institutions obstruct women’s recruitment, retention and progression in
construction. Recruitment into and within the industry is framed by male sponsorship, cultural fit and traditional education pipelines. Retention is compromised by poor parental leave practices and norms, which tolerate sexism
and gender stereotypes, as well as unsustainable work practices. Progression is impaired by the need for strategic alliances with powerful men and a lack of transparency around promotion opportunities.The construction industry is the most male-dominated in Australia, despite companies implementing formal policies and initiatives to address this. While previous research has examined the role of workplace culture as a barrier to women in the industry, our research investigates the role informal institutions play in obstructing gender equity in construction. We examine the gendered
dimension of informal institutions (practices, narratives and norms) in two multinational Australian construction companies using feminist institutional (FI) theory and rapid ethnography. The findings show that informal gendered
institutions obstruct women’s recruitment, retention and progression in construction. Recruitment into and within the industry is framed by male sponsorship, cultural fit and traditional education pipelines. Retention is compromised by poor parental leave practices and norms, which tolerate sexism and gender stereotypes, as well as unsustainable work practices. Progression is impaired by the need for strategic alliances with powerful men and a lack of transparency around promotion opportunities.

Keywords:Gender, institutions, informal rules, gender equity, masculinity
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:Eleanor Glanville Centre
ID Code:40920
Deposited On:28 May 2020 11:48

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